Segunda Caida

Phil Schneider, Eric Ritz, Matt D and occasional guests write about pro wrestling. Follow us @segundacaida

Monday, May 15, 2017

Berzerker's Tunic at the Rumble After Party Left the Crowd Speechless!

62. The Royal Rumble - 1/24/93

What a weird, sometimes fun/sometimes dreadfully boring Royal Rumble. It started out pretty awesome and almost felt like a love letter to fans of the territories, as all these different world and regional champs started off and the star power felt big. Within the first 10 we had Flair, Backlund, Dibiase, Lawler, Tenryu and Perfect. Flair and Backlund starts off, and none of the announcers talk about what a historic showdown it legitimately was. When you think of early 80s WWF champ, you think Backlund. When you think of early 80s NWA champ, you think Flair. As best I know, this is the only recorded footage of these two facing each other. There was an early 80s "title unification" match at the Omni but I don't think footage of that was ever shown on TV. So you get a fairly decent chunk of a Flair/Backlund match, later than you would have wanted it, but they work it like an actual match (as opposed to spending the time trying to lift a guy's leg over the ropes). Papa Shango interrupts as the 3rd entrant but gets disposed of immediately. So we get a 4 minute Backlund/Flair match, and that's pretty neat. But within that first 10 we get a couple other cool little showdowns, like Lawler/Backlund, or Lawler/TENRYU! Gosh, the prospects of a Lawler/Tenryu singles match just makes me angry that they were even in the same ring and it didn't happen. At one point, Carlos Colon is an entrant, which just REALLY feels like they legitimately were trying to bring in a bunch of regional champs. What would Carlos Colon mean to a 1993 WWF audience (and you better believe Monsoon referred to the mid-40s Colon as a youngster)? So we get cool, historic, unexpected match ups.

We get weird stand out performances from Virgil and Brian Knobbs (among the hardest I've seen Knobbs work, if only for 3 short minutes before elimination), nice moments like Max Moon's huge spinning heel kick on Lawler in the corner (and Lawler's lowrider car show screenprinted tights!!). But then there's just so much of this match that nobody could have wanted: Long runs from Damien Demento and IRS. A bunch of tag guys (though I liked Natural Disasters going at each other), an absurdly long Jerry Sags run, Repo Man in the final 5, Koko really really trying to get High Energy's pants over (though loved the part where Koko went after Lawler; again, the match had a lot of neat nods to older territory feuds both real and dream match), just a weird layout. Big peaks and low valleys. Berzerker's run was criminally short. He got to eliminate Virgil, but he was only in for a few minutes, mostly paired with Backlund (who he had a house show run against right before the Rumble). Best elimination was easily Lawler dragging Hennig to the floor after Hennig eliminated him. Lawler takes a great elimination bump (there were several of those, actually, from unexpected guys like Knobbs and Repo Man). But once Lawler goes to the floor, Dibiase and Koko start shoving Hennig over, and Lawler begins yanking him by the head, really making it look like Hennig was desperately trying to hold on to that bottom rope. A really violent elimination. The finish run is Macho vs. Yokozuna, which was better than I remembered, but the execution of the finish is as bad as I remembered. They work a fairly long singles match, and it's good. Savage eventually hits the elbow and then goes to pin the Rumble...and Yoko kicks out, sending Savage over the top to the floor. I kinda get it. The pinfall attempt used to bother me because it's the Rumble match, but I can buy that they worked together so long at the end that Savage went into singles match mode. But that elimination? One man just cannot press a man from his back, over the top rope, and make it look like anything other than a man jumping over the top rope. What a strange - and long - Rumble.

63. 15 Man Battle Royal - WWF Raw 2/15/93 (taped 2/1/93)

Man what a bummer of a final appearance in WWF for Berzerker. He's always such a presence in battle royals, but this one doesn't have much to offer him. IMPORTANT: This project gifted us with TWO Damien Demento appearances in a row. So...kewl. We get a brief Iron Mike Sharpe sighting but Backlund gets him out of the way pretty quick. High Energy have my least favorite wrestling gear of all time, but both of them take pretty great elimination bumps, with Koko taking a high backdrop from Michaels, and Owen took Berzerker's finisher to get eliminated (you know, Berzerker picked him up and just tossed him to the floor). Sadly, Berzerker vanishes from WWF not long after, as he and Kamala square off (which was a match up I had been dying to see, for the sheer goofy spectacle of it all), and Berzerker takes his final backwards bump over the top off a Kamala dropkick. Svona er lifio.


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